The Mince Pie Workout

Many of you will know that come Yule-tide, I love to share my home baked mince pies.

My love of baking and love of fitness don’t always go together but since it’s Christmas, it’s time to marry the two and bring you my mince pie workout.

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Very Important Mince Pie Statistics (VIMPS)

According to Waitrose, their all butter mince pies contain 234 calories each … gasp! So one mince pie, plus an obligatory glass of champagne (90cals in the average glass) = 324 calories. How can we burn off 324 calories in our super shopping mince pie workout?

Shopping Basics versus VIMPS

Let’s say the average last minute Christmas shopping dash lasts 45 minutes. According to the Mince Pie Calculator (yes there is one – provided by http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/mincepiesatwork/) a 10 stone person walking for 45 minutes at a slow pace burns on average 109 calories, crank up your speed and you could burn 253 calories, so get moving!

Special Mince Pie Workout Booster

“But what about the other 65 calories?” I hear you cry. According to Australian nutritionist Matt O’Neill (www.smartshape.com.au ) caffeine before a workout can help you burn 30% more calories. So grab an espresso en route and you could turn your 253 calories into 329.

Karen Laing is a pre and post natal exercise specialist and journalist. Karen teaches Pilates (including pregnancy specific classes) in Epping, Essex and London and blogs about fitness, women’s health and wellbeing at http://www.alittlefitter.com.
Karen co-directs Fit School with her husband Chris. They run fitness classes, ladies only training camps and Pilates classes in Epping and Essex.
TWITTER: @fitschoolessex
FACEBOOK: ccfitschool
WEBSITE: http://www.alittlefitter.com

5 steps to avoid Christmas over-indulgence

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IT’S such a lovely time of year. We’re all starting to feel warm and cosy, mince pies and drinkies are plentiful and the promise of Christmas lunch and trimmings looms – plus of course a few well earned days off.

But it’s really easy to overdo it, get out of your normal active routine and become surgically attached to a box of chocolates. So here are a few, I hope realistic, yet practical steps to ensure Christmas doesn’t push you off track and that a couple of days of over-indulgence don’t turn into a couple of weeks!

1. STAY ACTIVE. This doesn’t have to mean going to the gym or sweating it all out in a spin class but a walk on Boxing day morning can blast away cobwebs and keep your metabolism (and your system) revved. Plus you won’t have to experience sprout and turkey wind – let it all out!

2. FILL YOUR PLATE WITH MEAT AND VEG. The average Christmas dinner offers a feast of vegetable colour. Rather than filling yourself up on roast potatoes and sausages, go for a plate filled with meat and vegetables. You will find it  easier to digest your meal, without overloading on fatty carbs.

3. LIMIT YOUR OVERINDULGENCES TO A FEW DAYS. Christmas and New Year’s Day are great feasting days and a little feasting in moderation does not a wide girth make. But if you skip your normal routine for weeks and keep munching on chocolates and goodies, you will put on a few pounds. Chocolate is still chocolate, even if it comes from Father Christmas.

4. GET A WORKOUT IN BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR. Get your kit on and walk out of the door. You will be so grateful you did!

5. JOIN A GYM IN DECEMBER. If you know you want to join a gym in the new year, skip the rush and do it now! Why?December is the quietest month in the gym salesman’s calendar and they have targets to make. Get some free gym visits in between Christmas and New Year, then sign up before 31st, just make sure you play hard ball to get a great deal.

And finally … be prepared for the New Year.  At Fit School we’ll be running a 10 day Sugar Detox, a great way to start your year.

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The start date is the 5th January 2014, and the programme will guide you through the process of weaning the body off sugar. To help, we’ll provide low sugar recipes, exercises and a follow up plan. You’ll also be part of a closed Facebook Group so you can ask questions and get coaching through the whole plan.

If you want:
*More energy.
*To know how to reduce your spare tyre.
*To reduce your muffin top.
*To break the hunger-sugar cycle.
*To kick start your health for the year.
*To be generally less flabby.

You can register your interest by emailing us at fitschoolessex@gmail.com or by using the contact form below. The price is £15 for members or £20 for non-members.

We will limit this to 50 spaces as we will be providing a lot of content and we need to ensure that we can help as many people as possible. First 25 people get an early bird discount.

Karen Laing is a pre and post natal exercise specialist and journalist. Karen teaches Pilates (including pregnancy specific classes) in Epping, Essex and London and blogs about fitness, women’s health and wellbeing at http://www.alittlefitter.com.
Karen co-directs Fit School with her husband Chris. They run fitness classes, ladies only training camps and Pilates classes in Epping and Essex.
TWITTER: @fitschoolessex
FACEBOOK: ccfitschool
WEBSITE: http://www.alittlefitter.com

Woolly Wonderland: It’s woolly wonderful!

I love this time of year, especially since I now have a 3-year-old who is essentially experiencing his first Christmas. Christmas lights; Christmas trees; Christmas carols and songs; nativity plays and parties; and of course a most fabulous Christmas jumper, hand-crafted by my very talented mum.

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But – and it’s a very big but now – I have felt festively challenged in the jumper department owing to my eight month bump which will not accommodate anything ‘non-maternity’ anymore.

So I was thrilled to be invited to Woolly Wonderland at Westfield Stratford last Wednesday. I literally dropped all plans and waddled to join the jolly team outside John Lewis, sewing fingers at the ready.

Now it helps that as I become more expectant I feel an overwhelming need to sew things. So to be able to create my own Christmas jumper, without the frustration of a pair of knitting needles, in the company of some lovely ladies (and a few gorgeous kids), was my idea of festive and nesting heaven.

The event is all in aid of Save the Children. With this Friday, 13th December, being designated Christmas jumper day (all festive woolly wearers are asked to donate a pound or more to Save the Children). So if you fancy something different to trudging around the shops and want some ideas for your own masterpiece, I would encourage you to head on down to Woolly Wonderland to find out more. The team will get you set up with everything you need to get started.

Admittedly I only managed to sew on two of Rudolph’s eyes in an hour but after another couple of evenings sewing on the couch, my Christmas woolly was all ready for our first visit to see the big man in red!

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The finished article!

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Karen Laing is a pre and post natal exercise specialist and journalist. Karen teaches Pilates (including pregnancy specific classes) in Epping, Essex and London and blogs about fitness, women’s health and wellbeing at http://www.alittlefitter.com.
Karen co-directs Fit School with her husband Chris. They run fitness classes, ladies only training camps and Pilates classes in Epping and Essex.
TWITTER: @fitschoolessex
FACEBOOK: ccfitschool
WEBSITE: http://www.alittlefitter.com